Threats follow Michigan school shooting, prompt Oxford High closure: 'They're terrorizing people'

Oakland County has seen more than 135 threats against different school districts
OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. -- Michigan's Oakland County area has seen more than 135 threats against different school districts since the deadly shooting at Oxford High School, said Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

Oxford schools have closed until 2022 in response to the threats, Bouchard said. Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old alleged shooter, has been charged as an adult with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

SEE ALSO | Accused Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley due in court today after not guilty plea

"Well, unfortunately it is not just this district, it is districts all across the state and probably across the country," Bouchard said. "And Oxford happens to be obviously one that is especially numb and especially raw from it. So I think they made the decision to close school until after the holiday break to give people a chance to calm their nerves and to make sure that people have a chance to process this unthinkable tragedy."

Bouchard said his office has looked into each of the potential threats and determined none were imminent or credible. Still, authorities have arrested a lot of young people, charging 17 of them, in connection with the threats, he added.

RELATED | Attorney for accused Michigan school shooter talks strategy: 'My focus is solely on Ethan'

"But that still doesn't calm a lot of the emotions for understandable reasons," Bouchard said of the arrests.

Bouchard said his office has more investigations under way.

"The process is pretty clear," Bouchard said. "Someone makes a threat. We investigate 100% of the threats that come to us, determine first if it is credible and intervene if it is. If it is not credible, we still continue the investigation and seek criminal prosecution because the mere threat is a crime."

SEE ALSO | New details released on Ethan Crumbley's violent drawings reported before Michigan school shooting

Violent threats against schools can put people in jail for up to 20 years, Bouchard said.

"They're not a joke. They're terrorizing people," Bouchard said. "And we're going to hold you accountable."

Bouchard said his office is encouraging students to report any threats that they see or hear.

RELATED | Man who helped accused Michigan school shooter's parents was unaware of overnight stay

Before Oxford High School decided to close their schools, Bouchard said, his office had 24 canines sweeping every school building in the district to give them that assurance that the buildings had been thoroughly checked. He added that his office was planning to have a "substantial" presence in and around the building to ensure safety.

"Obviously, given what they have been recently through, they made a decision just to take this pause and let parents and students and teachers have an opportunity to process and have an opportunity to have the emotion and the fear come down through the holidays and have a fresh start after the first of the year," Bouchard said.